Ricky Passmore – on trial in York County on charges of violent felonies police say were aimed at keeping a black man from consorting with his ex-wife – testified on his own behalf Tuesday that he is not a racist.
“People keep wanting to say I’m a racist,” Passmore said from the witness stand. “I got nothin’ against a black person that don’t hurt a white person.”
Passmore claimed he toted a sword – with brass knuckles in his pocket and a hanging rope in his car, next to a rifle and ammunition – just to scare off his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, identified in court only by the nickname “Chip.”
“Chip” is street slang for crack cocaine, Passmore claimed, and his ex-wife’s new boyfriend brought “black street thugs” around his three kids.
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A white boyfriend for an ex-wife would be OK in the world of Ricky Passmore.
A black boyfriend, well, that’s grounds for a midnight phone call to his daughter – during which Passmore praised her for embracing the Confederate flag and slammed blacks as animals – and a trip to his ex-wife’s home at 5 a.m., armed with a sword.
Passmore, 46, has two prior convictions for assault under his belt. This man, referred to repeatedly by his own lawyer as a “redneck,” admitted he was on his way to jail the week after the June 19 incident because he had not paid child support and had no money.
What he did have, though, was a homemade club he referred to as a “redneck doorbell.” His teen daughter said her father called it by another name – “ ‘N’-knocker.”
Yes, the N-word came up more than three dozen times in Passmore’s trial. Each time, it was Passmore who said it, on a recording of the phone call to his daughter.
The Herald does not publish the N-word – that horrible, brutal, derogatory word that bigots use to describe black people.
But maybe The Herald should publish what Ricky Passmore said so many times, so people could read in the paper how Passmore told his teen daughter on the phone how black men want to get with white women to “make a bunch of monkey kids.”
How blacks “want to destroy our family, our blood lines, our family history.”
How it “takes strength” to walk through life with “Passmore blood,” which apparently pumps hatred of blacks through his veins.
How he and others would “stand up against the (N-word) assault.”
The N-word – there’s almost five centuries of hate rolled up into that six-letter word – was used so often in that courtroom that the 12 jurors, all white, couldn’t seem to stop cringing.
Charles “Doody” Dunlap, one of the bailiffs on duty in the courtroom, celebrated 44 years as a police officer in York County on Tuesday.
He was one of York County’s first black deputies. His brother, Carl Long, was an all-star in baseball’s segregated Negro Leagues, back in the days when black men were hung from trees by mobs of hateful whites and even governments after all-white courts sentenced them to die for the crime of looking at a white woman, let alone sleeping with one.
Dunlap stood like a Sequoia tree of pride in that courtroom and listened to the words that had been used to demean black people for centuries. He did not waver.
Toni Johnson, a black public defender, came into the courtroom for a few minutes Tuesday to observe the trial. Last year, she defended a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. Her face shone with the smile of pride in doing a job with great strength, as the awful words of hate caromed around the courtroom.
Out in the courthouse lobby sat Big Jim Williams, a black constable after a lifetime as a black police officer, proud to help people his whole life. The word bigots use to describe people who look like him seeped under the courtroom door. Nobody ever used that word to Big Jim’s face.
The avalanche of Ricky Passmore’s calling black people the N-word started Tuesday in court with the victim: his ex-wife, who even Passmore admitted in court was the subject of his threats.
Passmore came to her home early the morning of June 19 – also known as “Juneteenth,” the date in 1865 that is commemorated as the end of slavery in the United States – after downing three 22-ounce beers. He told her he did not like her dating a black man.
“Let that (N-word) be there when I get there; we will see who the real man is,” Passmore told his ex-wife.
Then came all the recorded epithets from Passmore’s phone call with his daughter – including Passmore’s telling his daughter that at his house, 10 miles away, “there is no (N-word)s sniffing around here.”
He claimed blacks were trying to brainwash his son and that his ex-wife would get what she deserved for dating a black man.
“I’m going to treat her just like I’m gonna treat that (N-word) – no mercy,” Passmore told his daughter, before heading to his ex-wife’s home with enough armaments for a small war.
This week’s trial was officially about the charges of kidnapping, assault, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and burglary – the only charge the jury convicted him on late Tuesday night.
But there was no doubt the trial was also about race. Racism and hatred. It was about the tools of hate, the weapons entered into evidence – swords, guns, ropes and brass knuckles.
And it was about the most cutting, brutal weapons of all that are used to slice and slaughter and demean and destroy – Ricky Passmore’s own word to describe black people.